Yakov Mirkin – about the victims of revolutionary psychosis

When everyone shouts “Hurrah!”, it seems that everything in society is simple and achievable. Memoirs of Maurice Palaiologos, Ambassador of France to Russia, August 2, 1914, in the early days of the World War: “The Emperor in a slow voice, emphasizing every word, declares:” I solemnly swear that I will not make peace as long as at least one enemy remains on my native land “.

Loud cheers for this statement. For ten minutes there is a frantic noise throughout the hall, which is soon intensified by the cries of the crowd that has gathered along the Neva. I reach the area of ​​the Winter Palace, where an innumerable crowd crowds with flags, banners, icons, portraits of the tsar.

The emperor appears on the balcony. Instantly everyone kneels down and sings the Russian anthem. At this moment, for these thousands of people who have been cast down here, the tsar is really an autocrat, marked by God, the military, political and religious head of his people, the unlimited ruler of souls and bodies.

Since March – “a new, revolutionary type of robbery under the guise of a search.” The owners, so as not to interfere, were locked in the bathroom

In 1915 – the first signs of internal tension. “The excitement in working circles is reported.” “As for the internal situation, it is no more comforting” (Paleologue, September).

In 1916 – already a failure. Paleolog: “I am not at all surprised to see many people around me who previously seemed to me perfectly healthy, but now suffering from fatigue, melancholy and nervousness, incoherence of thoughts, painful gullibility, superstitious and corrosive pessimism” (June 1916).

Further – worse.

September 1916 “The economic situation has deteriorated a lot. The rise in the cost of life is the cause of universal suffering. Essential items have risen in price three times compared to the beginning of the war. Firewood and eggs even four times, oil and soap five times. What will it be when soon we have to reckon with horrors winter, and with trials of cold even more cruel than those of hunger?”

This is not the limit. October 1916 “The people are suffering and embittered. The ministers are openly accused of supporting the famine. Everywhere they repeat that ‘it cannot go on like this.’ The troops fired on the police.”

Day by day the wounds are getting deeper. January 1, 1917 “Everywhere anxiety and despondency; no one is interested in the war any more; no one believes in victory any more; with humility they await the most terrible events.”

January 29, 1917 “Here they cease to be interested in the war. All government springs, all the wheels of the administrative machine deteriorate one after another. The best minds are convinced that Russia is heading for the abyss.”

Ivan Vladimirov (1870-1947). The peasants are returning after the destruction of the landowner’s estate in the vicinity of Pskov. 1919. Photo: Social networks

Petrograd is filled with workers and poorly trained troops (“newly from the countryside”). He “suffers a shortage of bread and firewood, the people suffer” (March 6, 1917).

Proryv, March 8, 1917 “The whole day Petrograd was worried. People’s processions passed along the main streets. In several places the crowd shouted:” bread and peace “.

March 9, 1917 “Unrest in the industrial areas took a sharp form this morning. Many bakeries were destroyed. In several places, the Cossacks attacked the crowd and killed several workers.”

Such are the changes in popular consciousness in August 1914-February 1917. British Ambassador George Buchanan condensed them into one phrase: a victim due to a lack of rifles and military supplies; how, due to the inability of the administration, a severe food crisis and “railway devastation” erupted.

What happened next is known. In the spring of 1917, Petrograd and Moscow are full of rumors and fears. Rumors: Bread will disappear. Adults will be given a pound of bread a day (410 g), and minors – half. There will be attempts. There will be terror, as in 1905.

“Crowds of loitering townsfolk” are the main characters. Self-starting crowds. “The overturning of trams was accompanied by cheerful shouts.” “The crowd was inflamed. Briefly waving, he cracked one log into the window, another into the sign, the third into the glass door.”

White crosses on the doors cause a special horror among the townsfolk. “Waking up in the morning and leaving the apartments, the residents suddenly saw that they were “marked” by someone. The blame was placed on some secret organization of “avengers”.

Since March – “a new, revolutionary type of robbery under the guise of a search.” The hosts, so as not to interfere, were locked in the bathroom.

“The most attractive for the defeat were not bread shops,” but wine shops. The jewelry stores were looted immediately. “The criminals, released yesterday from prisons, together with the political ones, mixed with the Black Hundreds, are at the head of the thugs, robbing, setting fire.”

“Tracking down policemen, policemen turned into a kind of gambling, accompanied by hooting.” “No one doubted the existence of hiding places with machine guns and cartridges” on the roofs and attics. “The crowd tried to storm the Mariinsky Theater, under the roof of which they could clearly see the muzzles of machine guns sticking out (these were the ends of the ventilation pipes).”

The number of the mentally ill increased 50 times (admissions to hospitals). A new type of mental disorder is called “revolutionary psychosis”.

Winter is preparing for defense. Photo: RIA Novosti

“There are many lunatics on the streets of Petrograd. These unfortunates have become mad under the influence of recent events. They roam the streets and do not touch anyone, they are mostly quiet insanity.”

Rumors about a new secret organization – about “black cars” that allegedly appeared at night in different parts of the city and shot the townsfolk and policemen.”

A large number of pornographic postcards and plays. Allegedly packs of rabid dogs that have “gone mad”. And, finally, “even respectable representatives of the middle class held guns in their hands, and the children’s pockets were stuffed with cartridges” (Aksenov, “The Daily Life of Petrograd and Moscow in 1917”).

So what should be included in the history books? This is obvious – there are boundaries in society that cannot be crossed. Thus, a 2-3-fold contraction of GDP (product of the economy) per capita in 1-2 years can cause bright outbreaks of discontent (Argentina, 2000-2001, Indonesia, 1998, Venezuela, 2012-2016). Food shortage in St. Petersburg is the direct cause of the February Revolution of 1917.

Another reason is the victims of the war in an increasing number of families. In World War I, 1.8 million people died in Russia. (Urlanis). When losses for most families become unbearable, expect a sharp change in public sentiment. And then there is only one correct choice: to manage the situation with a lead of a year or two.

Source: Российская газета by rg.ru.

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